Archive for June, 2010
Captain of Nigeria’s National Team that put on a floopy performance at the World has said he is not contemplating of retiring from International action yet
According to NFF’s spokesman Ademola Olajire, the ‘Nigeria captain Nwankwo Kanu says he never told anyone that he is calling it a day on international football’.
Since Nigeria’s ouster from the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa, reports have quoted the 33-year old legend as saying that he would retire from the international game.
‘I never told anybody that I was quitting international football. Of course, I remember the question being posed as we left the mixed zone after the match in Durban (against Korea Republic). All I did say was that I would fir st go on a holiday with my family and think over everything. It would be my decision,’ said Kanu.
Olajire’s press release also stated that the Nigerian skipper denied reports that he would not want to work with the present NFF board.
According to the press release, Kanu said: ‘That report is mischievous. I never spoke to anyone about not wanting to work with the Federation. My brother, I have been in the national team for the past 16 years and I know th e difference between white and black. The present NFF leadership has done a lot; they have been committed, energetic and forthright, and have sho wn they have the interests of the players at heart.
‘Surely, there is room for improvement as we go forward. But life is about learning and putting those lesions into use for future good’.
If he musters the will and courage to continue, and is around for the next World Cup, Kanu will be on line to be only the second African player to feature at four FIFA World Cup finals, after Cameroonian Rigobert Song set that record in the ongoing finals in South Africa.
Kanu previously played at the 1998 and 2002 finals, after narrowly missing the 1994 edition, and was unlucky not to have made it a third straight finals as the Eagles, captained by Austin Jay Jay Okocha, could not muster what was needed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
President Goodluck Jonathan has told the gathering of World leaders at te G8 summit that the Nigeria is now stable and ready to play a leading role in global affairs.
Jonathan who was in Canada as one of seven African leaders invited for an outreach session between G-8 leaders and African heads of state, spoke on the sideline of the summit in an interview with the The Globe and Mail newspaper of Canada.
The President said the recent transfer of power in the country – after a constitutional crisis – “to a man from a different language and religious background,” was proof that Nigeria is stable.
“That should tell the world that politically, Nigeria is stable. From 1999, when the last military head of state handed over to the civilian government, Nigeria has been stable.
“Nigeria is struggling. Every country has issues. If the purpose of these multilateral organisations is to improve the quality of life of society generally, then of course Nigeria is a good candidate for it,” Jonathan said.
Speaking on the new G-20 economic block just formed, which has brought more of the world into the club that steers global economic policies, Jonathan said the emerging group must better represent Africa.
He argued that the G-20 would need greater representation from the continent if it wants to chart a better common course for the global economy.
Africa, a continent of about one billion people, has only one G-20 representative: South Africa.
“It’s not just an issue of fairness but common interest. Just as the old G8 club needs to expand to include rising economic powers, the new G-20 must find a place to encourage the next wave of markets they will need in Africa.”
He continued: “Africa should have a place in the G-20 to press policies that will help it produce, rather than have it beg for assistance. And other nations should see Africa’s potential for their economies.
“For the developed side to develop, they need the developing countries. If you manufacture and there’s nobody to buy, you cannot sell. Nigeria has over 150 million people. So, even for economic reasons, you need to encourage them.”
Jonathan also urged G-8 leaders to deliver on their pledges to Africa such as the one made in Scotland in 2005 to double aid to Africa: “They promised $25-billion, but so far just about $11 billion has been given. And that’s one of the areas we can mention to them – if they can give this. Canada has done very well. They have met their commitment. But others have not.”
He said African countries were invited to the G-8 summit out of recognition that they needed to be encouraged, “and a substantive place in the G-20 will give them a chance to press that case in wider economic talks, such as liberalising trade rules to reduce barriers that discourage African agricultural exports.
“As long as we are not encouraged to export our produce, then we will continue to be begging,” he said.
Jonathan, who is scheduled to speak to the G-8 summit on its Millennium Development Goals, told journalists he would raise his concerns with world leaders, calling arms proliferation “one of the things that disturb me most.”
“I have said it severally that we don’t manufacture these small arms and light weapons. They are manufactured by the developed societies but dumped in Africa and they have become a major source of our own underdevelopment,” Jonathan said.
“That tells you that in a place where you don’t have peace, you can’t have economic activities that can stimulate wealth creation,” Jonathan said.
He linked the spread of such weapons to political instability as well.
“That is why you see a lot of military organisations struggling to topple governments in Africa. Where the governments are relatively stable, they use them (weapons) for criminal activities like piracy, trans-border crimes, armed robberies, and causing general insecurity, and even kidnappings.
“If these things are allowed to continue, then of course, economic development of the African continent will continue to recede instead of advancing,” Jonathan said.
Former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu , said Nigeria cannot afford to fail to conduct a succesful election in the year 2011.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the inauguration of the Baptist Cottage Hospital built by Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) and foundation laying ceremony cum N500million- fund raiser for a 150-bed Teaching Hospital at Omi Adio in Iddo Local Government Area of Oyo State, Tinubu stated that it would be dangerous for the nation to disappoint the world by not having a free and fair election.
He said that the integrity of any election depends upon reliable data base and accountable and transparent ballot system that will generate the register that will be used to vote.
The Action Congress (AC) chieftain, who maintained that vote counting at the polling centre is not the same as free and fair election, described the new INEC boss as a man of good pedigree and reputation .
“Jega has promised free and fair electionand had solicited the collaboration and cooperation of everybody in the country, he is a good man, and he has a good pedigree and reputation,” Tinubu said.
Tinubu called on Nigerians to hold politicians accountable for dismal state of infrastructure in the country and urged them to use their votes wisely to liberate themselves from the shackles of poverty and oppression
After a woeful outing in the World cup, Captain of Nigeria’s football team and Portsmouth striker Nwankwo Kanu, had hinted he would retire from the international scene.
“For me it’s a farewell on the same continent it all started,” he said to the BBC.
“It probably didn’t end well for us in this tournament, nevertheless I’m happy with all I’ve done for the national team,” he added.
Nigeria dropped out of the tournament after losing their group matches against Argentina and Greece before finally drawing 2-2 with South Korea.
The Nigerian said he was proud to have worn the colours of his national team and will remember playing for the Super Eagles fondly.
“I’ve really enjoyed myself and it was emotionally important for me to play in front of my family,” he stated.
“I’ve won the [under-17] World Cup, the Olympic gold and Nations Cup silver and bronze medals.
“We haven’t achieved much as a team but personally I think it’s an achievement I am proud of.
“My wife was here [in Durban] to watch me, I played in front of my kids at the biggest football tournament, so what else can I ask for.”
Kanu, who was African Footballer of the year in 1996 and 1999, went on to say he will continue playing club football.
No trip to South Africa is complete without a visit to its most beautiful and sunniest city. Durban offers much more than sandy beaches, safaris, casinos and the World Cup, for information on what to do and see, please click here.
Raj Bhojwani, an alleged associate of Nigeria’s former Military Head of State, Sani Abacha and Nigeria’s present Ambassador to South Africa Buba Marwa has been sentenced to six years after depositing tens of millions of pounds from army deal in St Helier bank
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) getting more active and showing greater courage, the impression that there are still fat, sacred cows strutting the grazing field of corruption is disappointing.
As the Commission vigorously investigates the Siemens bribery scandal with the interrogation of some highly placed Nigerians, it is a mockery of justice that it has no-go areas in the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of financial crimes and corruption-related cases.
One would have expected the Commission to handle the high-profile Halliburton bribery case with its renewed vigour. But no, the Commission said last week that it would not revisit the controversial case unless it is so directed by the Presidency.
The Commission initiated the investigation of the case and had progressed it steadily, but its spokesman said it is a no-go area because ” a Presidential Committee headed by the office of Inspector-General of Police is now in charge.”
The late President Umaru Yar’Adua set up a Presidential Committee in 2007 to take the case off the EFCC. The Committee headed by the then Inspector General of Police, has EFCC Chairman, and representatives of the National Security Adviser, State Security Service and National Intelligence Agency as members.
Its terms of reference, among others, are “to establish the extent of involvement or culpability of any Nigerian in the bribery scandal and the sums of money allegedly paid out to any person in Nigeria by Halliburton as bribes in respect of the Bonny LNG Project; and to liaise with the Swiss authorities with a view to tracing and recovering any sum stashed in Swiss banks for the benefit of those involved in the Bonny Liquefied Natural Gas Project bribery scandal.”
Between then and now, while many Nigerians have been sentenced to jail or have been kept behind bars to await trials over far lesser offences; while various reports have revealed Nigerians suspected to be involved in the scandal, nothing seems to be happening.
The bribery scandal began in 1994, when the NLNG board under the chairmanship of MD Yusuf, opened bids for the award of contract for the Liquefied Natural Gas Project in Bonny, Rivers State. A consortium of four companies – Technip of France, Snamprogetti , a subsidiary of ENI SPA of Italy; Kellog of the United States later known as KBR and Japan Gasoline Corporation, which was registered as TSKJ, bid for the contract with BCSA. TSKJ is a subsidiary of Halliburton. TSKJ subsequently won the contract for $1.8 billion in September, 1994.
However, the lid over the bribery scandal that influenced the contract award to TSKJ was blown open in June, 2003. Further investigation into the Nigerian deal was opened in France in October, 2003, where it was deposed at the hearings that Jeffrey Tesler, a 60-year-old British lawyer, was the intermediary between Halliburton and the Nigerian government, who channelled the bribery money through Tri – Star Investment Limited owned by him.
All that is public knowledge now! Also of public knowledge is Tesler’s confession in court that the payments he made included two transfers amounting to $75,000 to Yusuf, then chairman of the LNG, that awarded the original contract to the consortium. His testimony showed that the bribe was used to secure Yusuf’s support in facilitating a meeting between TSKJ officials and the late Sanni Abacha.
Why Nigeria should dilly-dally with such a high profile case, with a big impact on the country’s image and its attraction as an investment destination, has become a sad statement on its anti-corruption efforts.
The long wait for justice has been made more depressing by unconfirmed reports that the Presidential Committee has indeed sent a report of its findings that implicate some highly placed Nigerians and former heads of state, to President Goodluck Jonathan.
So many people have been smeared by these reports in the public domain, and will forever remain tarred if the case remains inconclusive. That perhaps is why former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote to President Jonathan last month hoping that it “would bring about a decision of the Federal Government to make available to the public, the full details of the circumstances surrounding the Halliburton bribe scandal and who, if anybody, are the culprits.”
All the developments on the case are now in the glare of the world. In the interest of justice and for the image of the country, the Federal Government should move quickly to bring the case to a judicial conclusion. It should disabuse the minds of Nigerians that in these times and age, there are still sacred cows.
The Federal Government has lamented that developing nations including Nigeria have not been able to access the $30 billion financial pledges made by the industrialised nations towards tackling the problem of Climate Change .
Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey, gave this suggestion at the weekend when he met with United States officials led by the Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, Dr. Jonathan Pershing, at the 13th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment holding in Bamako, Mali.
The minister in a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Rotimi Ajayi, said the facilitating access to the climate funds by the vulnerable nations would further enhance the integrity of international collaborations and negotiations on Climate Change.
Jonathan, who is scheduled to speak to the G8 summit on its Millenium Development Goals, told journalists he would raise his concerns with world leaders, calling arms proliferation “one of the things that disturb me most.” (more…)
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has agreed to visit Nigeria for seven days to educate Nigerian coaches on modern tricks of the round leather game and the best way to identify hidden talents in the country
This was the outcome of his meeting with Nigerian officials on Thursday at the Redisson Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg.
Wenger met with the Nigerian representatives led by the Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio.
Others at the meeting were the Director-General of the NSC, Patrick Ekeji, and a former skipper of the Super Eagles, Austin Okocha.
After the meeting, Ekeji told our correspondent that the deliberations went well with Wenger.
Ekeji said, “Wenger is passionate about Nigerian football and he believes we can do better in the future if we work towards that.
“He has agreed to be with us to give our coaches useful tips to help our young players.
Football development is vital and we just have to embrace it.
“We know that Wenger is a coach that grooms young players and that is what we are looking at in Nigeria at the moment.”
Wenger however urged Bio to contact the management of Arsenal for a convenient time that will be fixed for the programme.
“The meeting was okay and I believe we can work it out soon,” he said.